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November 1, 2003

Jabra Stavro Attackers target Wolfowitz's Baghdad hotel

Juan Cole has posted an eye witness account of the bombing of the Baghdad hotel on his weblog, Informed Comment. There is an question and answer seession with Wolfowitz at Washington University here. (link courtesy of Tim Dunlop over at Road to Surfdom.

There is another item of interest by Juan Cole on Informed Comment. Cole briefly decribes a lecture given Professor Timothy Mitchell, of the New York University Political Science Department, on contemporary Middle East affairs. Mitchell, according to Cole made a couple of interesting points. He argued that:

"....whether in Japan, India or elsewhere, has always been preceded by land reform. And, he pointed out, this sort of measure is completely absent from the American planning for the Iraqi economy. He said that the Baath years had seen enormous inequalities in landed wealth reemerge.... So far the CPA plan for Iraq appears to be to just let businessmen and wealthy landlords run wild, with all the risks of repeating the disastrous errors made in post-Soviet Russia."

The second point that Mitchell made was that:

"Mitchell also wryly pointed out that the main form of American economic activity in Iraq hasn't been market driven at all, but rather has consisted of a few big corporations with pre-arranged contracts feeding safely at the public trough (the $20 bn. Congress just passed for Iraqi reconstruction will largely go to these champions of the free market)....I'd say that one could forgive the Iraqis if they conclude that the American system in Iraq is a form of state socialism, with Bremer playing the Politburo, giving orders and exercising a veto even though no one elected him to office, and Halliburton and Bechtel playing state-supported industries. Perhaps it looks more like Cuba so far than like capitalist democracy."

On the other hand, there is the American shock therapy plan for Iraq. This involves selling off state owned enterprises and allowing foreign firms to buy 100% of them and then immediately to export the profits out the country.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:49 PM | | Comments (0)